Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Candidates: Must Seek Hidden Culture when Interviewing with Potential Employers

Have you been interviewing with various representatives of a potential employer? It is a silly question, right?  But here is what I can share with you to improve your chances.

Oftentimes, candidates participate passively in these screening processes; engage themselves by answering questions through the stages of interviews with the hope of getting hired. During each stage, it was the employer’s representative who was driving that scene; asking tactical questions about you as a candidate, exploring your social media behavior and practices. They spend only few minutes about what they are offering you and how can you help them.

At the very end of the time, one will ask “Do you have any question(s) for us?” Depending on your mood, or how you felt from the previous 20 minutes or so, you will take time to inquire. Sometimes, you have forgotten about turning the table on your favor, because you were overwhelmed with the presence of the so called ‘interviewing team’ who will be working with you, should you be hired.

As candidate for a specific position, you know your abilities. Be confident that you bring your technical skills and professional competencies to the employer’s business. When given that chance, you will take advantage of the situation by asking or probing subtle questions that will disclose the hidden culture of the organization. Knowing what is outside the interviewing room is the most crucial piece of information for making your personal or professional decision to join the organization. You have the right to inquire in equal footing to their right of screening you.

Learning about your prospect is very important:
Take your time to inquire and understand about them in addition to your prior research of their background before interviewing. Facts speak loud to you. Watch for the demonstrated interviewing etiquette, when they say "we only have few minutes left" - that says a lot about them, this is a red flag.

The following is a set of magic probing inquiries that will set you apart from other candidates while seeking important pieces of information. You can either ask these questions during phone or face-to-face interviews.

1. Can you illustrate your expectations of me in the first sixty days of employment?
2. Can you describe to me the types of workforce that work in your organization?
3. Can you share me your insights about the organization’s prospects in the next five years?
4. How do you see my competencies to complement your current team members?
5. When will you plan to close this position, and how many people have you been interviewing? 

With these five inquisitive questions you will be able to elicit a better perspective and landscape of this prospective employer. When doing this, however, you need to be very smart by listening actively on what they say. There are times, that one or two among the representatives will spill the beans, and some are very cautious on what they say. Watch for symptoms of being cautious – then start further investigations after leaving the premises.

Candidates can to turn the table for their advantage:
For anyone who is looking for a job, and would like to screen out those organizations that do not demonstrate good recruitment and hiring practices.  Our research illustrated the following as common bad practices; Requested an updated resume but never got any follow up from the Requester. Do not send any acknowledgement, nor communicate back with candidates. Do not send a feedback of the status of the application. They send a reply to candidates after 3 months from date of application. Conducted an interview either by phone or in person, but did not send any updates beyond ten days. All of these bad practices within the recruitment and staffing are giving a bad name to the industry where real professionals do their work at best. 

What will candidate do? Create a spreadsheet of all organizations that you have applied. Create a column that says "With Bad Practice". Any organization that you will encounter with those practice, tab them in your spreadsheet. And do not apply to them.

Consider only those with good business practices:
Only apply to organization that will demonstrate Good Business Practice that are reflective during their recruitment and hiring process.  These good practices are opposite activities of the bad practices identified above.  There are also pro-active behaviors of organization's representative such as following up with their candidates and providing them updates regularly until the time the position is closed.

As always, we like to hear from your experiences. You can either fill the space below or send us an email at: info@jntconsulting.com

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